Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine is looking for Knox and Lincoln County children, ages 5 to 14, who would benefit from having a caring adult mentor.

The agency currently has carefully screened, trained and caring female mentors ready to be matched in Camden, Rockland, Owls Head, and South Thomaston in Knox County and in the Damariscotta-Newcastle area in Lincoln County.

BBBS is also hoping to identify men in Waldo, Knox and Lincoln County who would be interested in learning more about becoming a Big Brother to a prospective Little Brother.

“We have many boys who would benefit from having a male role model in their lives,” said Gwendolyn Hudson, community-based director, who oversees the agency’s efforts to match Bigs and Littles. “We strive to match young children in our program with adults who have similar interests and enjoy the same activities. We also offer complete training for new Bigs, and our staff provides ongoing professional support each month as their relationship develops.”

Research shows that having another positive adult mentor in a child’s life can lead to youth having higher aspirations, greater confidence, and educational success. It also helps the child build better relationships and avoid risky behaviors. Littles in a Big Brothers Big Sisters program are:

— 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs

— 52 percent less likely to skip school

— 27 percent less likely to begin to use alcohol

— Able to get along better with their families

“We often tell people — you don’t have to change your life to change a child’s life. Our mentors spend an average of two to three hours a week with their Littles, enjoying activities together and just hanging out. The important thing is for the child to have a friend they can count on,” Hudson said.

Results of a 2009 Harris survey of former Littles who are adults today showed that having been a Little contributed significantly to the person they are today.

Almost all alumni surveyed (90 percent) agreed their Big made them feel better about themselves. Further, 85 percent said being a Little has influenced them somewhat or a great deal to have confidence in their abilities.

Large majorities of adult Littles said their Big provided stability when they needed it (90 percent) and changed their perspective on what they thought possible in life (81 percent). Three-quarters (77 percent) said they set higher goals than they would have on their own because of their Big.

Bigs also were reported to have had a major influence on the school life of former Littles. Over three-quarters (77 percent) reported doing better in school because of their Big; almost two-thirds (65 percent) agreed that their Big helped them reach a higher level of education than they thought possible and half (52 percent) agreed their Big kept them from dropping out of high school.

Those who have or know of a child who could benefit from having another caring adult in their life, or would like to learn more about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister for a local child, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine at 236-2227 or email gwendolyn@bbbsmidmaine.org.